David Gillick, an Irish international 400m runner and broadcaster undertakes a 12km loop walk, starting in Letterfrack in Co. Galway. He walks the Diamond Hill Loop with Ger O’Donnell, the Conservation Manager of Connemara National Park. He concludes the walk with a visit to Kylemore Abbey and The Walled Gardens and then returns to Letterfrack.
David and Ger set off on their walk and soon meet veteran local farmer Pat Walsh with his herd of cattle. During the walk Ger discusses the unique micro climate of the area, explaining that Connemara can get up to 1800mm rainfall with over 250 days of rain giving rise to the vast boglands in the area. Throughout the day David is conscious of the changing weather in the West of Ireland, and particularly how walkers need to be prepared for all weather conditions.
On the way up Diamond Hill, David is surprised to meet two people running up the rocky 600m ascent to the summit. On the way back down, they arrive at the landmark erratic rock, which intersects 3 boardwalks. David takes the main boardwalk back to Letterfrack Visitors Centre. Along the Bog Road route, David meets Connemara beekeeper Billy Gilmore who is passionate about reviving the native Irish Black Bee in the area.
David makes his way to Kylemore, but before he leaves Letterfrack, he visits the local Industrial School graveyard which is a sad reminder of harsher times. Letterfrack to Kylemore is a distance of approximately 6km along the N59, he meets local Rural Recreation Officer Rosaleen Ní Shuilleabháin, she discusses how people can enjoy the land and how they can be considerate of the environment, with the ‘Leave No Trace’ campaign, a success story of modern conservation.
At Kylemore Abbey he meets the Abbess Sr. Maire Hickey and finds out about its’ history and how Kylemore Abbey has contributed to the local community. David takes in the stunning scenery surrounding Kylemore Abbey and sees Diamond Hill from a restful view. Continuing his walk he visits the beautiful Walled Gardens which date back to the 19th century and are renowned for their variety of plants and vegetables. He concludes his walk returning to Letterfrack.